Is corporate activism just a sales booster and brand builder?

By taking a clear stand on an important social issue, Call me is one of the few Danish examples of successful corporate activism. But is it just a marketing gimmick? Get important do's & don'ts from former Call me CEO Hanne Lindblad.

Get important "do's" and "don'ts" from Call me's former CEO and corporate activist Hanne Lindblad 8th of May.

The campaign that created a social movement

The small low-cost mobile company Call me got known across Denmark when it launched its public awareness-raising “Tal Ordentligt” (Watch Your Mouth) campaign back in 2012.

It generated a nationwide debate about verbal abuse and aggressive tones in public discourse, and ultimately sparked a social movement in Danish schools, on TV, social media (see video).

It also led to an improved business: it doubled the customer base, increased customer loyalty, led to the highest PR value in the industry, decreased cost per acquisition and delivered a strong, hard-to-copy differentiator in an extremely price competitive market.

The internal change process

What many people don’t know is that the “Tal Ordentligt” campaign was the result of an internal change and employee engagement process, which was kickstarted by the then CEO, Hanne Lindblad.

By building the value of trust into every corner of the business, the company upgraded its culture and worldview amongst Call me’s employees. It also made a strategic shift from full focus on profit to dual focus on profit and purpose.

See the culture book that Call me’s employees created during their change journey.

Purpose drives activism - not business

By taking a clear stand on an important social issue, and actually kickstarting a movement around it, Call me is one of the few successful Danish examples of the emerging trend "corporate activism".

But Hanne Lindblad warns other companies, who consider an “activist” market approach: “Corporate activism needs to be driven by a company’s purpose. If companies do this purely as a marketing exercise or to increase its sales performance, they will fail and it will ultimately backfire on their business.”

It requires a journey into integrity and intention for companies that want to take this kind of responsible action. They need to work with their worldview and get everyone in the company to align with this new vision," explains Hanne Lindblad, who has since left the company, which is owned by Telia, one of the largest Nordic tele companies.

Get more “Do’s” & “Don’ts” on the 8th of May

You can meet former CEO Hanne Lindblad and former Marketing Manager Anja Enggaard at the miniconference “Corporate Social Activism” on the 8th of May in Copenhagen.

Here they will share important insights and practical experience with the “do’s” and “don’ts” of corporate social activism and the impact it has on managers and employees.   

The event will also give you how-to insights and inspiration from:

  • The international social business expert who provides an overview of global trends and cases on corporate social activism (Tania Ellis, Special Advisor & Founder, The Social Business Company)
  • The recent Sustainable Brand Index award winner and retail giant that applies choice editing and campaigning to inform and engage its consumers in sustainable consumption (Thomas Roland, CSR Manager, COOP Danmark)

  • The world’s first ethical prison labour company that uses its business to take a stand on poverty and women’s rights (Veronica D’Souza, CEO & Founder, CARCEL)

See the full programme & sign up for the miniconference Corporate Social Activism on 8 May here 

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